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Business q: Who is your toll free provider?

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#1
benbakelaar

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Just looking for some business advice, this seemed like the most relevant folder, but I remember seeing some other business-related q's... maybe we should add a business folder as well?

My question: For any of you who run your own business or work at one where you are the main administrator, and you have a toll free line:

Who is your provider? What is your experience with them? What features do you find the most useful/most used? (e.g. voicemail-via-email delivery)

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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I've put it in Off-Topic for now, seems to be the right place for this sort of discussions. I don't think we should start making a distinction between 'serious' and 'not-serious' off-topic :rolleyes:
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#3
BEAVER

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Do you have to have a toll free #?

I only see large corporations that offer servises or tech support using toll free numbers. I started a small corp. not long ago and I would never even consider toll free number unless I had at least 100 phone calls per day and costumers complaning about paying for them.

#4
benbakelaar

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Do you have to have a toll free #?

I only see large corporations that offer servises or tech support using toll free numbers. I started a small corp. not long ago and I would never even consider toll free number unless I had at least 100 phone calls per day and costumers complaning about paying for them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well actually I am asking for my non-profit, but if I was in the business of full-time cartography consulting, I would definitely have a toll free number. Basic service plans are $10/month plus maybe $.05/min.

#5
Mike H

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I would not have a toll free number unless I was heavily invested in map retail. I've never felt the need for one, and never had a client who would have not chosen my services because of a phone bill. Seems like a waste of cash flow. Most people don't pay for long distance anymore with cell phones.

It's much more important to stay in close contact with clients via cell/email, I always reply with 24 hours if not immediatley - that core communication is the most relevant aspect of custom cart and consulting.

Now, when I was purely self employed as a freelancer and (very) minor map retailer, I went so far as to have an unlisted number! Simply being in the local yellow pages, listed under Map Retailer, meant I got far too many calls from people looking to buy a state map, or globe, etc.

I think you'll find most of the more succesful independent cartographers evolve into a word-of-mouth business and rarely advertise, much less have an 800 number.

m.
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#6
Dennis McClendon

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I've been happy with Qwest. Back when I chose them their directory division was a client, though it was since spun off. They gave me a sweet per-minute rate that even includes calls from my home number, and the toll-free number is I think $5/month.

I doubt that it makes much difference in attracting clients, but I wanted to reinforce the idea that it was a national business rather than a local mapper. A nice side benefit is being able to easily call the office myself from any pay phone, which is sometimes more convenient or better quality than using my mobile.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#7
Derek Tonn

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I only see large corporations that offer servises or tech support using toll free numbers. I started a small corp. not long ago and I would never even consider toll free number unless I had at least 100 phone calls per day and costumers complaning about paying for them.


Really Beaver? I don't have a toll-free number at this point, but it's honestly been on my list of things to do for the past 2-3 years. If it's gonna cost me $300-$500/year to have one (per-minute fees and monthly service rate), I can pay that additional out-of-pocket cost for the next ten years if just one additional campus/organization went from being a "prospective client" to a "client" as a result of giving them added convenience when contacting me.

To me, it's the same thing as having a GOOD web site vs. "a web site", using instant messaging vs. avoiding the (sometimes) hassle, etc. It's just another cost of doing business.....and the companies/designers/organizations that make the process of contacting them as friendly/convenient as possible "win" in the end. Most of my business is done over email, FTP and the Web, but again, if a toll-free number would result in even one more client every ten years, I likely break-even on the expense.....as a small LLC.
Derek Tonn
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mapformation, LLC

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#8
GISRox

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I'm wondering what people are using for toll free service.

I'm currently evaluating RingCentral - http://www.ringcentral.com/

Any other recommendations?



#9
benbakelaar

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I know this thread is a bit old, but I'm wondering what people are using for toll free service. 

I'm currently evaluating RingCentral - http://www.ringcentral.com/

Any other recommendations?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


My non-profit is now using Verizon Business Services. Our cost is $5/month plus minimum charge of $9 worth of calls at $0.07/min (whether those mins get used or not). We don't use any features, the 800 number connects directly to an office line.

I can definitely recommend who to avoid though... HQ VoiceWorks, VoiceCom, Premier Global, and Intelliverse. We had nothing but trouble when trying to change our provider from them to Verizon. It took about 4-5 weeks and hours of circular calling until the issue was finally resolved.

#10
travelbug

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have u considered Skype In? While it's not exactly free for your customers (they're charged at local rates), it's dirt cheap. and comes with free voice mail...




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